5 Reasons to Practice Yoga By: Elizabeth Hay

By January 6, 2014 No Comments

Yoga has changed; today what you meet on your mat is not the same as its origins thousands of years ago or even in the past decade. The classes, termed “practices” is what they are, practice. Yoga sessions are taught by certified instructors that have studied rigorously to match the history of yoga with science and modern life styles. The benefits of yoga can be seen on the covers of most health and fitness magazines; strength, flexibility, great posture. However, there is more to come out of modern yoga, science has just began to scratch the surface of the benefits and the results are touting more than a flexible body. These five new benefits will renew your perspective of the ancient practice and give you yet another reason to roll out your mat.

Cleansing-Free radicals develop in the body from toxins we come in contact with. Everything from the foods we are eating that are laden with artificial ingredients and chemicals to the emotional stress of our jam-packed life styles produce toxins. Just about every yoga pose helps to cleanse the body and break down the free radicals that have taken up residence inside us. Simple poses like downward dog; where getting your heart above your head aids in blood circulation, to slightly challenging poses like twisting chair; where putting pressure on the internal organs will wring out toxins and flush them with new blood creating a cleansing effect on the body. Participating in a yoga class that moves through a wide variety of poses will leave you cleansed and refreshed. Just be sure to take a moment to thank yourself for healing your body as you leave!

Creativity: When you step in a yoga class you will hear cues for breath as you move, it may be cued as “A deep breathe in and a deep breathe out” or “Inhale-Exhale”. Yoga instructors have the remarkable habit of coaching not only your movement but also your breath. Constant fast breathing allows little oxygen into the body and to the brain. In contrast controlled deep breath increases the oxygen flow to the brain elevating the levels of energy in multiple areas. All this energy in the brain will stimulate creativity. Dancers, musicians, and artists, flock to the sport of yoga. The need for creativity is not limited to professional artists; it is a demand spread across all industries both academic and professional. Show up to yoga and let deep controlled breathing encourage oxygen inhalation and creativity.

Mood: It would be a struggle to find a yoga student storm out of a studio in a sulk! What is with all the happy people pouring out of yoga class? Studies at Harvard show that regular practice of yoga can reduce instances of depression and increase emotional uplift. Specifically in power yoga the variations of fast and slow movement give the heart an opportunity to exercise energetic flexibility, which produces an inner harmony with all the functions of the body. Inner harmony equals better moods. Choose a yoga class with fast flowing movements mixed with deep powerful poses to get the most mood boosting benefits.

Self Confidence How well do you know your body? Do you know where you are tight, flexible, or on the brink of injury? Most yoga poses require you to get up close and personal with the way your body works. Studies show that knowing your body like this leads you to greater comfort in your own skin. This type of comfort is hard to come by but is attainable with regular yoga practice. Security in your own skin gives you better posture and greater self-confidence. The benefits are great for teens and adults alike. Bend, lift, twist, fold, balance, and control your body in a consistent yoga practice, get to know the way you work, and build your confidence.

Athletic Balance-If you participate in any sort of exercise routine and you are age 10-80, yoga is the perfect balance to your regular movements. Your body begins to memorize the actions you are making with your repetitive motions. You gain strength moving your body in the same reocurring activities. The key to avoiding injury is adding in a regular yoga practice where you are stretching, opening, and building strength in areas that differ from your typical routine. Our bodies are building blocks that require stability on every level not just the primary construct of daily use. Yoga takes you from the tips of your fingers to the bottoms of the feet and creates a synergy that is symbolic of harmony in a choir.

Yoga is diagnosed by doctors all over the country for diverse populations. It is recommended for a variety of treatments from arthritis, addiction, cancer, heart disease, and even learning disabilities. Yoga is now for everyone. You need yoga for health, mood, creativity, stress management, self-confidence, balance, flexibility, longevity, and many more reasons to come. Yoga, step in, step up, and step out of your routine.